Black Principals Network Announces Second Cohort of The Leadership Collaborative

Black school leaders are empowered through professional development, individualized coaching, self-care strategies and collective problem-solving.

CHICAGO, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Black Principals Network (BPN), powered by Surge Institute, is thrilled to announce the second cohort of The Leadership Collaborative (TLC), a groundbreaking program designed to empower and uplift Black school leaders across the United States. The 2024 TLC cohort announcement comes on the two-year anniversary of the relaunch of BPN under the auspices of Surge Institute.

Originally launched in 2021 by Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Black Principals Network was designed to curate space for Black principals from across the country in pursuit of community, professional growth and collective liberation. Since its inception, the hope was that BPN would find a home with an aligned organization.

“Today marks a significant milestone as we proudly announce the participants of our second cohort of The Leadership Collaborative on the second anniversary of the relaunch of Black Principals Network under Surge Institute’s programming,” said Black Principals Network Executive Director TaraShaun Cain. “This moment is more than just a celebration of individual achievements; it is a reaffirmation of our collective commitment to excellence, leadership and the transformative power of education within our communities. Each participant brings a unique blend of passion, insight and experience that is crucial for curating a space of community with a focus on sustainability to address the challenges and opportunities that exist in this often isolating role.”

The Leadership Collaborative’s 2024 cohort is comprised of the following school leaders:

  • Dr. Amber S. Henderson, Principal at Marya Yates Elementary, Matteson, IL
  • Brandi Whitfield-Lewis, Assistant Principal at Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language, Chicago, IL
  • Chelvert J. Wellington, Principal at Fort Caroline Middle School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL
  • DeMarco Hughes, Assistant Principal at Chicago Tech Academy HS, Chicago IL (also CHI21 Surge Alum)
  • Isolda Antonio, Principal at Union Park Middle, Orlando, FL
  • Joseph Jawon Williams, Principal at Legal Prep Charter Academies, Chicago, IL
  • Kazmir Davis, Principal at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
  • Kimberly Kindred, Principal at Richardson West Junior High, Richardson, TX
  • Latoya Lyons, Principal at William H. Brown STEM Magnet School, Chicago, IL
  • Louis Davis, Principal at Clara Barton Elementary, Chicago, IL
  • Marlena Little, Principal at Dr. Martin Luther King Academy of Social Justice, Chicago, IL
  • Natasha Jones, Principal at Lawndale Community Academy, Chicago, IL
  • Nicole Spicer, Principal at Bronzeville Classical School, Chicago, IL (also CHI18 Surge Alum)
  • Quintin Lewis, Principal at KIPP DC: Arts & Technology, Washington, DC
  • Regina D. Latimer-Lake, Principal at Charles W. Earle STEM Elementary, Chicago, IL
  • Dr. Simon Obas, Principal at Achievement First Public Charter Schools, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT
  • Talisa Martin, Principal at Madison Fine Arts Elementary, Chicago, IL
  • Tamara N. Littlejohn, Principal at Carter G. Woodson Elementary, Chicago, IL
  • Tierionna Pinkston, Principal at The Noble Academy, Chicago, IL (also CHI22 Surge Alum)
  • Verna Taylor, Principal at PS 272, Brooklyn, NY

The Leadership Collaborative brings together a diverse group of 20 Black school leaders from nine cities across eight states for a transformative journey of professional and personal growth. This unique program offers a blend of in-person and virtual sessions, all fostering a deep sense of connection and community among participants. Throughout seven monthly gatherings, these leaders will engage in a robust professional learning series, benefit from individualized principal coaching, explore self-care strategies and collaborate on addressing a collective problem of practice, with efforts aimed at driving positive change in their school communities.

“Each leader brings a unique perspective and a commitment to excellence that will not only elevate our network but also transform the educational landscapes they serve,” Cain said. “Together, we are not just building a cohort; we are nurturing a movement toward more equitable and impactful educational leadership through growth, collaboration and profound change. I am honored to welcome these leaders into the Surge Institute family.”

As a vital part of Surge Institute’s portfolio of leadership development experiences for emerging leaders of color, BPN is dedicated to supporting Black school leaders in their efforts to proactively and effectively tackle the challenges in their school communities.

Surge Institute and Black Principals Network look forward to witnessing the growth and achievements of this new cohort as they embark on this exciting and meaningful journey together.

Kara Prior

Phone: (210) 846-4486


Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established with a simple but important mission: to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower diverse emerging leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. Learn more about the impact of Surge Institute.

SOURCE Surge Institute